Bring on the fun.
To start the day, though. We slept in. Now, it must be noted that 'sleeping in' with a 5 and 3 year old means you top 7:00 a.m. Since it was vacation, and all, I think we may have hit 7:30 a.m. I'm not naive enough to have believed we'd get a super late morning in, so I planned a special 'late' breakfast for us that morning.
In the past few months the kids have become avid fans of the movie Lilo & Stitch. It just so happens that I ran across a 10:45 a.m. character breakfast with Lilo and Stitch at the Polynesian's Ohana just weeks prior to our trip. I snagged it.
I can't even believe I'm typing this, as I felt for sure I could have named 10 other characters that would have taken the title of the kids' favorites at Disney World, but Lilo and Stitch took the cake, and not just by a little bit, by a landslide. They were so excited.
We arrived to the Polynesian really early so we rode the monorail around twice before finally just showing up at 10:15. They sat us around 10:30. As we were walking in the kids were immediately given maracas and asked to join in a character parade around the restaurant. They loved it.
Now - I'm a foodie, so I have to immediately comment on the food. This was by far one of the best of the trip, and it was breakfast food. It doesn't sound like anything incredible: sausage, eggs, breakfast potatoes, breakfast breads, bacon and fruit... normal breakfast fare. But the sausage? Awesome! Aaron and I both swear it had an Hawaiian flare. The breakfast potatoes, unlike anywhere else. The breakfast breads were an iced cinnamon raisin bread - outstanding - and a pineapple bread, Yum! The hubs said the pineapple was the best pineapple he'd ever had. (And it wasn't just Disney - we'd had pineapple other places all week... this pineapple was GOOD.)
Here's a little glimpse:
The hot food came in this huge skillet. Like I said... GOOD. And it was all you can eat. (But we only asked for more of that fresh pineapple.) May I also mention - breakfast is served with this incredible juice. I believe our server said it was a combo of mango, pineapple and guava juice. For those of you who know me, the guava juice made this drink a hit in my book!
It took the characters awhile to get back around to our table, but the anticipation was worth it when we saw these faces:
Seriously - ask B who his favorite character was and he probably won't even have to think. Stitch.
The breakfast would have topped the charts for our trip anyway, but what happened next was a memory for the memory books. We were waiting for our last character to come through (Stitch, we were not leaving without that one), when it came time to do the maraca parade again. The kids were given maracas and away they went. When the song was over, the kids finished the parade on the other side of the restaurant. I immediately went into that 'mom concern' mode for Ans who is only three and isn't the most direction savvy kid anyway. I could not see she nor B from our table.
I tried to relax and decided to wait and give them the opportunity to make it back. Within just a few seconds I saw Ans' skipping towards us. Crisis averted. But then a minute went by... and another minute. And I was starting to work into a mini-panic over the competent, direction savvy offspring that I have. The hubs was just raising up out of his chair to go looking when B started running around the corner. It'd easily been 3 minutes or so since the song ended.
Of course, he sits down and we immediately start grilling him, "Where were you," "What took so long," and lecturing him, "We were worried, you always come right back," when we were interrupted by one of the servers, "Sorry it took him so long to get back! He offered to collect the maracas from the kids for me. He was a great helper, was very patient, and offered to do it himself!" In just moments a few more servers came by doting on him.
We apologized and praised him for doing something nice without being asked.
Just minutes later, this happened:
In recognition for his act of kindness, he was given a signed Maraca (by all four characters) and a cupcake for he and his sister. (And yes, it was a pineapple cupcake.) His day - and ours - was made. So great to hear positive things about your kiddos, and we explained to him that you don't always get something when you do the right thing or help someone, but we agreed that his maraca was pretty cool.
From there - we made a short trip to Downtown Disney. B had been saving a gift card he had for the Lego Store from the beginning of the trip, and we wanted him to have the opportunity to spend it. Granted, this was a short trip because it immediately started pouring on us again. We did accomplish the lego store and a couple Christmas tree decorations, but we decided that we'd be heading back a different day because we didn't accomplish much else.
Then - back to the hotel to get ready for our big night.
Now. Here's where it all gets interesting, as if the trip hadn't been interesting previously. I'm going to clue you all in now, being that it took me a long time -- too long -- to get clued in, feel privileged. Mom of the year, right here.
Little did I realize at this point that we had gone, gone, gone much of the day. We ate a later breakfast and had reservations to eat an earlier dinner (5:00), so we skipped lunch. Ans hadn't been asking to go to the bathroom at all the inopportune times, like normal, but I didn't really notice. Plus, we were in the hotel room for an hour or so in the afternoon, and I didn't really pay attention to bathroom habits then.
I got us all ready - and off to the Magic Kingdom we went with Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween tickets in hand.
We got into the park just fine, with just some mild sprinkling (though - not mild for my hair and Ans', which I'd dolled up prior to leaving the hotel), and two happy kids. Here is B riding the ferry to the MK in his pirate costume:
And us stopping for a photopass photographer, all dolled up in costumes for the evening:
Look at those smiles. This was going to be a good night.
I had also scored (and by scored I do mean 'scored', this one was not easy to come by) a 5:05 reservation to the Magic Kingdom's hottest new restaurant, Be Our Guest. Located in Fantasyland, at night it's a sit - down experience in the Beast's Castle.
As was the theme for our trip - we got in a few minutes early, but not after getting a couple good shots outside:
Before long, they called our name and we were heading in.
The restaurant is gorgeous. The ballroom, well, it really looks like the ballroom in the movie. We were lucky enough to dine there. It's snowing out the back windows. It's beautiful.
The ambiance was perfect for a sweet family dinner, and check out that rose, it's my napkin.
They encourage you to go visit the other rooms in the castle, two other rooms in which one can dine. After taking our drink order - I gave Ans a special treat and ordered her a Sprite - I immediately asked Ansley if she'd like to go look around with me. She declined, and in recent minutes had started being pretty whiny. I declared she needed to change her attitude and I asked B if he'd like to go. He did, so off we went.
So the rose, from the movie? Yeah, it's pretty incredible. In the same room, the Beast's picture transforms at the thunder sound.
The other room's centerpiece was this beautiful 'music box' made by Belle's dad for the two's wedding gift. You can see it just over B's head.
Upon returning to our table, Aaron had convinced Ans to visit the other rooms with him. This would be the last we'd really see of her for the night.
When she returned to the table bread had been delivered, as well as her Sprite. She declared that she didn't want her Sprite and she wasn't hungry for bread, nor did she want any other food, including a cupcake I tried to bribe her with. For the first time since Wednesday, her eyes looked sick, and for the first time in her life, she complained of a headache.
I know, I know. I should have known immediately. I've been dehydrated twice before in my life, and my number one symptom was one of the most horrible headaches I'd ever had. BUT - having had migraine headaches my entire life - I've spent most of my 'mom' life praying over my babies that God would deliver them from this highly probably genetic thorn in their side. Dr's agreed that if either showed symptoms, it'd probably be Ans (female) and mine started when I was about her age, so when she said headache, my first fear was "migraine".
And of course, she'd not needed tylenol for a few days at this point, so I had none.
When she mentioned a headache the second time, I offered for her to lay her head in my lap. She immediately laid down and was asleep within moments.
I proceeded to eat my strip steak, french fries and green beans (I'm a foodie, remember, I couldn't continue through the dinner story and not tell you of the awesome food. Aaron had shrimp and scallops and was happy as a clam. Hardy har har.), plus my dessert - the grey stuff (and BOY was it delicious, no need to ask the dishes) with a sleeping child in my lap.
Mind you, at this point the Beast - one character Ans had been intrigued to meet - had come through our dining room not once, but twice. At the time of our leaving, he was available to meet and have pictures with. Ans wouldn't wake up to meet the master of the castle, so I took B while daddy carried her to the stroller.
They insisted I get in the picture as "the Beast had never met Snow before". The cast does a great job at staying in character, but when you are 'in character' they do a great job keeping you in character as well. I can't tell you how many times I was referred to as "Snow" that night, many of which took me several moments to realize they were talking to me or about me.
Anyway. B and I made our meeting and exited to find Ans asleep in the stroller. Golden. Good start to our evening.
We then proceeded to take the next five minutes to replan our evening. What was this headache she was experiencing? Was it her ears flaring back up? Exhaustion? She hadn't napped all week... seems probable. That must be it, she must be exhausted. We were going to search out Tylenol, let her sleep for an hour or so and she'd be rejuvenated and ready to tackle the night... and it was all going to work out, it was supposed to be a long night anyway... so we thought.
So, Aaron had taken B on Space Mountain previously in the week and B had asked several times since to ride it with me. For that reason, Aaron headed to First Aid (they are fantastic by the way) to get Ansley some tylenol, and I headed with B to Space Mountain being that Lines (an awesome app worth every penny, and far surpassed even the My Disney Experience App on wait times) showed a ten minute wait time.
So - the camera for space mountain is immediately upon entering the ride. I was still waiting for the ride to 'start' when we jerked. I was trying to fix my event bracelet, and the look on my face shows my surprise at the ride starting. Classic.
When the ride was over (and the line really was ten minutes) we walked out to see Aaron and Ans. She was sitting up in the stroller, but looking pretty miserable. I quipped that she'd need a half hour or so for the meds to take effect, and we decided to walk over to the Monster's Inc Laugh Factory to sit in the AC in a show to give her some time to recover.
So you know how I mentioned previously that our kids - B especially - kept getting chosen out of audiences over and over? Get ready.
For those of you who haven't sat in Monster's Inc Laugh Factory, let me give you the general rundown. The idea is that since figuring out that laughs create more energy than screams, Mike hosts a 'laugh factory' comedy show to collect laughs and thus provide energy for Monstropolis. As you walk into the attraction you sit in a 'stadium' or theater style seating. I'm bad at guessing, but this is probably another attraction that holds around 150-200 people. Again, I'm a bad guesser, but that's what I have to offer.
We were about 3/4 full that night.
Animated characters then appear on the main screen and interact with different people in the audience. Those people from the audience are shown on another large screen. We'd made it almost through the show when Mike's nephew came on to tell jokes and to meet a kid (it'd been mostly adults being chosen... maybe 3 or 4 of them, up until this point.)
Let me tell you our current situation at this time. B had walked in first in our group and was on the other side of Aaron. I was sitting next to Aaron and Ans was on the other side of me, once again, laying with her head in my lap. By the time I figured out that the spotlight that had entered our part of the theater was on B, he was already answering the animated character and telling him his name.
As much as I was trying to enjoy the moment and soak it all in, I kept thinking, "he was chosen AGAIN! How does that happen?"
The animated character proceeded to ask him, "Hey Bryton - you want to hear a joke?" B, sometimes shy, but tonight 'on' in all respects, answered, "Yeah!"
At this point, I became extremely nervous. My children's definitely of a joke is this:
"Knock knock. Who's there? Banana. Banana who? Banana sitting in a bathtub eating an ice cream cone." To which the both laugh hysterically. And this is not exaggeration. This IS their favorite 'joke'.
I was nervous to say the least.
The animated character continued, "Why was 6 afraid of 7?"
Before I could lean forward to look over at B he answered and shocked us, "Because 7 ate (8) 9!"
My mouth hit the floor. I'd sure never taught him that joke. Nor was he the type of 'joke' kid to think it up. Especially not that fast. Even the animated character was caught a bit off guard.
Their conversation continued, with literally the only other thing I caught being the character asking him what he'd like to be when he grew up, to which he replied, "A pilot," and the character commenting that he had high expectations. All I could think of was 'how did he know the answer to that joke," and "I sure wish I could get Ans off my camera to get a picture of him on the screen." (Which I never got.)
When it was all over both Aaron and I immediately asked B, "how did you know the answer to that joke?!" To which he replied, "I learned it in school last week from my teacher!"
We love school in this house, and I thoroughly enjoyed sending that email to his teacher when we got home.
Ans hadn't perked up much at this point, and I could feel my hopes for the night diminishing. We decided since we were right there we'd ride the People Mover and give Ans some more time before hitting the park hard. She loved the ride, as it goes through Space Mountain, a ride she'd wanted to ride all week but isn't tall enough for, so she felt she had actually rode Space Mountain. Ask her favorite ride and she'll probably answer "Space Mountain". What she means is the People Mover, because she thought it was in fact Space Mountain.
B and daddy rode the teacups after that, and then we proceeded to the Winnie the Pooh ride. By the time we'd ridden in the honey jar, Ans looked done, so back in the stroller she went.
From there, we decided she'd stay in there and we'd take turns riding with B. The night was fading before my eyes.
When we hit our first candy line (oh yes, they do trick or treating, and they do it well! In the few hours we were there, we probably left with ten pounds of candy. I kid you not.) I thought she'd for sure perk up. We made her get out of the stroller to get the candy, but she crawled back in and declined the offer to try a piece. Now I knew we had a problem.
The conversation then ensued, "do we stay or do we go? No, you stay with him, we'll take Disney transportation back. No, you stay. We don't want him to miss out. It's only $40 to come back tomorrow, maybe we should just come back tomorrow. But we won't have this experience tomorrow..."
It was confusing and frustrating.
By this point we'd made it over near the Haunted Mansion, and the decision was made to hit the candy stops we found on the way out, the rides that pertained to B, but to head out and be done for the night. I was so disappointed, and also really concerned for Ans.
We accomplished more than I expected on the way out. Ans slept in the stroller through everything from this point. B and I rode Pirates. Aaron and B rode Aladdin's carpets. We hit three or four more candy stops. I and B had a Dole Whip from Aloha Aisle (which I would have paid the $40 to come back for the next day, had I missed it), and we just happened to hit the Castle light show and fireworks on Main Street. How's that for perfect timing? Ans slept through every bit of it. (And the fireworks were not quiet.)
We bought the kids both balloons on the way out, being that they had asked for them since Tuesday. (Who would have known they'd stay inflated forever? The good news is we were able to gift them to other kids in our resort lobby before we left to come home.) After that we loaded the car and headed back.
We are - once again - horrible parents, and having thought that Ans was just exhausted, we assumed she should be more than rested after basically sleeping away five hours of our evening, and we made her walk back to our room. We joked that she'd probably caught her second wind and would be up all night.
I dosed her with ibuprofen when we got in 'just to make sure', and laid us all to bed. Much to my surprise, she passed right back out. I laid my hands on her and prayed over her that night, that God would heal her body and make her feel better.
Much to my absolute surprise, the first words out of her mouth on Saturday morning was, "My head still hurts."